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24 September 2023

Man Utd, Man City eye 18 free agents including De Gea, plus other top football news

24 September 2023

Numerous high-profile footballers remain free agents following the Premier League registration deadline. Manchester United and Manchester City were active in the transfer window, the former spending over £200 million to bolster their squad, the latter procuring Josko Gvardiol among others and parting ways with Riyad Mahrez. Despite the transfer window having closed, free agents can still be signed by clubs, but might miss out on league and European matches until January due to registration regulations.

Brentford's manager, Thomas Frank, expressed his frustration over a penalty award resulting in a 1-0 loss to Newcastle United. He claimed that the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) later confirmed the officials' decision was incorrect. Despite not being able to reach PGMOL chief Howard Webb, Frank had a satisfactory discussion with Jon Moss of the same organisation. While acknowledging the referees' efforts to improve, Frank lamented the game-deciding borderline call from the assistant referee.

Manchester United earned a crucial three points with a 1-0 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday night. The game, scant in opportunities and quality, saw Bruno Fernandes secure the win for United with an impressive volley in the first half. Although Burnley were the superior side for the majority of the first half, it was the Red Devils who took the lead just before half-time. The second half was largely uneventful, with Burnley unable to find a comeback. This win marks a significant achievement for United in their season campaign.

The Premier League registration period is over. Arsenal and Chelsea were among the busiest in the transfer window, spending millions to bolster their squads. Tottenham also made headlines despite signing James Maddison and others, with Harry Kane's departure drawing significant attention. Now that the window has closed, a number of free agents remain clubless. These players can still join new clubs, but may face omission from league and European matches due to registration regulations. Eighteen of these remaining free agents are still available for hire.

Celtic and Rangers are all set to further their Scottish Premiership campaigns. Despite falling behind in the early stages, Rangers are gearing up to face Motherwell on Sunday. Celtic, currently unbeaten, are preparing to play Livingston on Saturday. In other news, journalist Mark Guidi has suggested that Celtic's Reo Hatate may be a potential target for Tottenham under Ange Postecoglou while BBC pundit Derek Ferguson has voiced concern about Rangers' Michael Beale's management of Ridvan Yilmaz.

Former Aston Villa striker, Gabby Agbonlahor, has suggested that West Ham United's Lucas Paqueta may be considering a move to Newcastle United, amid continuous links to the 26-year-old Brazilian midfielder. Despite Newcastle's manager, Eddie Howe, revealing that the club did not come close to signing Paqueta previously, Agbonlahor believes that the club's ambition to play Champions League football and their wealthy owners could attract the player. However, Paqueta's move to Premier League champions Manchester City previously fell through due to a betting investigation.

Tottenham's manager, Ange Postecoglou, declines to compare his journey with that of Arsenal's Mikel Arteta, stating that every manager's experience is unique. Postecoglou, who has impressed fans with his attacking football style, has led Spurs to the best season start in 50 years. The team are now preparing for their first North London derby under Postecoglou's leadership, providing an opportunity to measure their strength against Arsenal, who came second last season. Despite his respect for Arteta's passion and impact on the game, Postecoglou feels there are few similarities between them due to their differing backgrounds and experiences.

Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea manager, believes World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez is not yet ready to be captain due to his weak English. Conor Gallagher was appointed captain in a League Cup game and then selected to lead against Bournemouth, with Pochettino attributing this decision to Gallagher's English proficiency. Despite a challenging season start with only one victory in five league matches, Chelsea are set to face a Villa team unbeaten in London under Unai Emery.

Liverpool are set to host West Ham United at Anfield on Sunday, hoping to maintain their unbeaten run in the 2023-24 season. Jurgen Klopp's team have gathered 13 points from their first five matches of the Premier League and started their Europa League journey with a win over LASK. Facing an in-form West Ham side, Klopp must decide who retains their starting position from the previous victory. Availability of Trent Alexander-Arnold remains uncertain whilst Thiago Alcantara is ruled out due to injury.

Manchester City and Manchester United return to Premier League action this weekend, following Champions League fixtures. United, after losing 4-3 to Bayern Munich, face Burnley, while City, who triumphed 3-1 over Red Star Belgrade, meet Nottingham Forest. Recent transfer rumours suggest United offered £50million for Brighton's Evan Ferguson but ended up signing Rasmus Hojlund for £72million. Additionally, City have reportedly quoted a £21.7million fee to Barcelona for a permanent deal for Joao Cancelo, currently loaned to the Catalan club.

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